If you are familiar with Ragdoll cats, you probably are aware of the fun-loving characteristics that people who seek one out are crazy about. Often referred to as the “dog” of the cat world, your Ragdoll cat will tend to be a very social animal who loves to spend time being with you and playing pet games.
While each Ragdoll cat has their own like and interests, almost all of them never seem to tire of their favorite games.
This trait makes them the perfect fit for a variety of environments that include:
- Being around owners who crave the attention of their four-legged family members
- Active households, especially with children who love to play
- Multi-pet homes, including those with other cats and/or “cat-friendly” dogs
No matter what environment they find themselves in, one thing is for sure. These cats LOVE to play as you can read here as well.
As their owner, they will look to you for guidance on how to play and what to play with.
Why Play is Important
Regardless of the corner of the animal kingdom to which you belong, play is an important part of life. Whether big or small, wild or tame, animals around the world engage in different levels and styles of play.
From a young age, all different kinds of animals begin to play. There are certain universal benefits of play that apply not only to your Ragdoll kitten but to almost any pet you can think of. These include:
- Health and Fitness: An active cat is at much less risk of obesity and will tend to be much healthier overall than a sedentary cat
- Mental Stimulation: Just like you, your Ragdoll cat can become bored. Playing games is a great way to keep them occupied and sharpen their mental capacity. This also discourages them from being noisy or tearing things up around the house
- Stress Relief: Believe it or not, your pet can stress. In cats, high-stress levels can lead to unpleasant behaviors. This includes urination outside the litter box and increased aggression and irritability. Playing is a great way to curb their stress naturally
- Bonding: As with any relationship, spending time with your Ragdoll cat is beneficial to the special connection the two of you have and will continue to develop. Playing together is one of the best ways to spend quality time. In addition to the other benefits, play fosters a deeper connection between you and your fur baby.
As you can see, there are many levels of benefits that can be realized by playing with your Ragdoll cat.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the best and most engaging ways that your cat loves to play.
By the way, in this article we are going to tell you a couple of games you can play with your Ragdoll that require some toys. While toys are not always needed, some toys are really awesome and loved by Ragdoll cats. If you need help finding those toys, read our article on the 15 best toys for Ragdoll cats!
1. Go Fetch!
At first glance, you may be surprised to see “fetch” listed as one of the ways to play. After all, this is a discussion about cats, not dogs, right?
Normally this would be true, but as we discussed previously, Ragdoll cats are not called the “dogs of the cat world” for nothing!
Unlike most other breeds of cat, many Ragdolls find this type of play to be fun and rewarding. I am sure most all of us are familiar with the concept behind fetch, but just to be thorough, here are the main elements:
- Choose any object that can be readily thrown without breaking it or causing damage
- Dangle the object in your cat’s field of vision to get their attention and peak interest
- Fling your object across the room, being sure that your cat sees where it goes/lands
- While many do this naturally, you may find the need to encourage your pet to retrieve the object
- Once they return it to you, give them praise and affection to let them know they did well. This will teach them to repeat the game in the future
As simple as it is, fetch can quickly become a favorite for both you and your fun feline. There is just something naturally enjoyable about teaching your pet to play in this manner.
When they get the hang of it, the experience can be incredibly rewarding for both you and your Ragdoll cat.
Naturally, their skill will increase, and you can try to challenge them by throwing your object further or even out of sight.
However, be sure to introduce these challenges at a pace that matches your cat’s skill level so that you don’t cause them to become frustrated and lose interest in the game altogether.
While just about any object will do, the following are popular options:
- Balls: bouncy, soft, big or small. Your cat will love them all!
- Small cat toys such as a fake mouse, chew toy, or any number of things
- Play bones or sticks
2. Illusive Lights
Another source for endless amusement for you and your feline companion are lights. In particular, the best kind of lights are ones that can be manipulated by you. This includes items such as:
- Reflective mirrors
- Disco lights
By far the most popular, and arguably most fun, are laser lights. You have most likely seen this done by someone else, or already tried it for yourself. My weapon of choice is the small, but powerful pen style lasers.
These usually project a small, bright red dot that is approximately 1/8” in diameter. They come in a variety of other colors, sizes, and even shapes, but the traditional bright red seems to be the most visible.
If you have ever witnessed your Ragdoll chasing down a small insect, such as a fly or mosquito, you probably recall the striking similarities.
Cats are naturally drawn to chasing insects, reacting to the quick and jittery movements as it flies through the air, daring them to catch it.
You can use the laser to emulate these movements, leading your cat on an epic chase and then quickly changing directions. It is impressive to watch as your cat showcases their incredibly keen eyesight and reaction time while they hunt down that light.
Unlike fetch, there is no retrieving of this object. In light of this fact, you should expect that your cat will eventually tire of this game if played for too long.
While their will is strong, they eventually come to terms with the fact that they may never catch this elusive little “bug.” Don't worry though, tomorrow is a new day and they will be ready to take you on again!
3. Anything on a String
Yes, I do mean anything! The trick to this game is all in the wrist. As you have probably seen in any pet store, the favorite setup is a medium length stick that holds a string, and then the string has an object attached to the end of it.
While it is true that just about anything light enough to make a jump with a flick of your wrist will work, here are some of our favorites:
- Feathers: light and naturally prone to a fluttering motion, your cat can't get enough
- Just string: the only downside to this one is you may prefer more weight to be able to control the quick and jerky movements that cats love to chase
- Fake mice, or other small toys resembling a cat’s natural prey (snakes, bugs, etc.)
- Fuzzy or fluffy things: anything your cat can feel between their teeth!
Any combination of these kinds of items can be found on the shelves of your local pet store, or you can get creative with items you find around your home.
For added enjoyment, many of these toys feature fun sounds such as squeaking, or bells and whistles. To stimulate yet another of the senses, you can also find these toys laced with catnip that is especially attractive to many cats.
No matter what is on the end of that string, be prepared and have realistic expectations about the longevity of these kinds of toys.
Depending on how rough your Ragdoll likes to play, you could find yourself repairing or replacing these types of toys at an alarming rate.
To cope with this, you can go one of two ways: make or buy the cheaply constructed ones at the lowest prices with the expectation of a limited life span or look for the higher quality ones with materials that should last longer and may even have replaceable or repairable components.
4. Cat Springs and Skittering Things
This next way to play is almost as open-ended as what you might choose to put on a string. As you may already be aware, there is an over-arching trend among the ways your Ragdoll cat prefers to play.
Each and every type of game or play is geared toward your cat’s natural and primitive instincts as a hunter.
Quick jerky movements, fluttering, flailing, or dancing motions, all are things your cat specializes in detecting and following.
This means that any type of toy that can seem to “respond” to your cat with lifelike movements is great. These include things like:
- Toy Springs: Specifically designed to be light and springy, it can entertain your frantic feline for hours as it bounces, springs, and skitters around! (Only get large ones made of plastic)
- Mechanically Driven Mice: This one will really bring out your cat's inner hunter, as they pounce and prance to “catch” this live-action toy
- Cat Race Tracks: This genius device features a smooth track in which a ball is placed. As your cat paws at and chases the ball, it moves infinitely around the track until your cat has had their fill
The key with these contraptions is the way that they seem to be alive in one way or another.
This creates the illusion for your cat that they are chasing and/or catching whatever object is moving.
As it reacts to their playing and pawing, it fuels their appetite and desire to track it down and come out on top
5. Interactive Treat Challenges
Treat boxes, as they are often called, are a great way to entertain and play with your cat while at the same time rewarding them for their intelligence and creativity. These can be as simple as a cardboard box with some holes cut in it.
Simply place some treats on the inside and away we go! If your Ragdoll is especially fond of treats, this is sure to be a hit. One of the benefits of this type of play is that it can entertain and reward while you are away at work.
While they come in many different shapes or sizes, homemade or bought, there are a few main elements that your treat box should include:
- Durability: Make sure to construct your box out of something that is not easily chewed apart or destroyed
- Appropriately Challenging: This one is key, as you must know the ability and personality of your cat. If it is too difficult or exhausting, it will frustrate your cat and they may lose interest. On the other hand, if it’s too easy, they won’t get much time out of it and may even get sick from too many treats too fast
- Creativity: The best box will challenge your cat in more than one aspect. Perhaps this means different sized holes/compartments that range from easy to difficult. Or maybe you create “obstacles” within our box to block some of your Ragdoll cat’s efforts
The possibilities for this type of play are endless, so have some fun with it!
While these are some of our favorites, there are countless ways to spend playtime with your cat.
As you get to know your Ragdoll and become more familiar with their personality and preferences, you’ll be able to personalize the way you play in order to engage with your cat on a more rewarding level.
We encourage you to think outside the box and be aware of your cat’s ticks and traits as you choose the type of play to engage in with your cat.
And while you are thinking outside of the box, you can also think about going outside with your Ragdoll cat! Ragdolls are known for learning to walk on a leash quickly. Our article will show you how you can teach your Ragdoll to do that and what harness is needed for that. Read it here!
At the end of the day, you will both benefit from a fun and rewarding experience!